Category Archives: The Business of Writing

10 Tips for Becoming a Successful Freelance Writer

freelance

This year marks my 20th as a freelance writer. I’ve learned much along the way— maybe some of what I’ve garnered will help you to begin your own freelance journey.
Here are 10 things to keep in mind as you start up your business:

Think like a business owner.

Remember, you are not only a freelance writer but also a business owner. As a business owner, it’s your job to attract clients and keep them satisfied. The business part of freelancing is your “professional footprint” and equally as important as your writing.

Create a marketing plan. 

Every successful business has a marketing plan. Freelancing is no exception. You should create and implement a plan to interest potential clients and persuade them to use your services. Set goals!

Keep your social media presence professional. 

Your online business and personal interactions should be separate. Set up a Facebook business page where you can interact with clients and customers. Have separate Instagram, Twitter and other social media accounts for your business. Create a business web page and/or blog.

hqdefault.jpgMake solid working relationships a priority.

It’s vital to build strong relationships with clients. After making initial contact with a potential client, follow up by email every 4–6 weeks about the possibility of freelance assignments. Try to offer something new, like a link to your Facebook business page or web site. This is effective on two levels: it keeps your name on the list for new projects, and it establishes an ongoing relationship. With both new and customary clients, a solid relationship pays off.

Maintain a routine. 

Freelancing doesn’t mean sleeping in on mornings when you don’t have a project. Every day is a workday. Get up at a set time and “go to the office.” If you don’t have a writing assignment, then your job is finding one.

Remember—nothing is a sure thing. 

You can’t count on a project happening until you have a contract. Sometimes, a publisher will decide not to follow through on a project. It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen.

1Look toward the future.

When I first started out, I had a great freelance job writing 30 hours a week for a client. It was a job that came with healthcare benefits, a 401k plan and the opportunity to write for a leading educational textbook company. My only regret is that I didn’t look beyond the present. When their business slowed, I was let go. I had few other clients to rely on, and it took a long time to rebuild my client list. Lesson learned: Always look to the future and plan for the unexpected.

Save for “rainy days”.

When the economy slows, the publishing industry feels the economic crunch along with most other businesses. Keep several months of living expenses in your savings for times when you have no assignments—and no income.

celebrate Celebrate the positive.

There are days when you’ll wish for a job with a regular paycheck and benefits. During those times, think of all the great things about freelancing: You’re doing something you love, working from home and creating your own schedule. You can take time off to run errands and wear PJ’s all day, if you want . . .

Start each day doing something good for yourself.

For me, it’s prayer and then coffee. I ask God to inspire my writing, and then I make myself a flavored cappuccino or latte. Even better, I pack up my laptop and head to a coffee shop to write . . .

I think I’ll do that right now.
I’m heading for my favorite coffee place
to celebrate 20 years in business.

What else can I say? The freelance life is good.

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Are you on Facebook? Check out my page where I post articles
and inspiration for writers.

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*NOTE: Any ads appearing in this post were not put there by me nor do I endorse them. WordPress sometimes posts ads in exchange for hosting this free blog.

 

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Filed under Freelance writing, The Business of Writing, Uncategorized, Writer's responsibility, Writing goals

Five Ways to Ruin Your Writing Career—After Your First Book is Published

ProcrastinatingYou’ve published your first book. But be careful! Here are five ways you can ruin your writing career.

1 Stop Writing.
You’ve published your first book. You expected to sell thousands—but you didn’t. There’s that voice in your head, (You know the one.), “You’re not good enough! Give up.” Will you listen to it and stop writing, or will you pick yourself up and try even harder?

Louisa May Alcott was told to stick to teaching. Rudyard Kipling was told he didn’t know how to use the English language. Scores of famous authors had their works rejected.

Don’t give up. Keep writing.

2 Oversell Your Book.
You’ve published your first book, and you’re so proud. On all the social media sites, you post about your book several times a day, day after day, week after week—and then you wonder why your book sales haven’t picked up.

Overselling can overwhelm potential readers (Think about those annoying ads that pop up on your favorite web sites. You just wish they would go away.)

Think beyond endless posts showing your book cover. Post a great review. Feature an interesting character. Be creative about garnering the interest of your audience. And don’t post too often.

3 Pester an Agent.
You’ve published your first book. Yea! Your agent pitched your book and got you the best deal—but it was a long road to publication. You wonder: if you had called your agent, texted, emailed and kept after him/her more often, would your book have been published sooner.

Think realistically. It takes time to pitch a book and find a publisher. Be appreciative that your agent placed your work. Along with being appreciative, be a team player. Be nice. Listen to your agent’s constructive criticism, and take it well. A good client/agent relationship leads to publishing more books.

4 Annoy an Editor.
You’ve published your first book—but the editor at the publishing house suggested tons of changes. You questioned most of them and even wondered about the editor’s competence. You preferred that every word stay exactly where you put it!

A first-time author’s first experience with an editor is humbling. It’s an editor’s job to make your book the best it can be, and there will be changes.

Changes fall into three categories.

  1. Why didn’t I think of that?

  2. It really doesn’t matter to me.

  3. No I don’t want to do that!

Learn to accept all changes in categories 1 and 2. If accepting a change ruins your vision for the book, (#3), then have a conversation with your editor.

5 Become Overly Confident.
You’ve published your first book, and now you’re an author—like Nora Roberts, Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, Michael Connelly. The title “author” means you’ve entered the publishing world, and you’ve nowhere to go but up.

Overconfidence can ruin your writing career. Your second book should be better than the first. Work at managing your ego. Keep learning. Even the most famous authors know there’s always room to improve.

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Are you on Facebook? Check out my page where I post daily articles
and inspiration for writers.

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*NOTE: Any ads appearing in this post were not put there by me nor do I endorse them. WordPress sometimes posts ads in exchange for hosting this free blog.

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Filed under Encouragement, The Business of Writing, Uncategorized, writing, Writing goals, Writing Tips